By Melissa Moore-Randall
Former Revere resident Jamie Chambers, a Sergeant First Class and Senior Career Counselor/Recruiter for the Massachusetts Army National Guard, is proud of giving back to his hometown. Assigned to the Barnes Building in South Boston, Jamie recruits prospective members in Revere, Everett, Chelsea, Winthrop, East Boston and Charlestown.
“As a recruiter we are tasked with providing qualified applicants with enlistment options and information to help them make the best decision possible. We are expected to be involved with our assigned areas high schools and communities to help with events through the school year. As recruiters, we show the community they can count on us and teach them the vital role the National Guard provides in any situation. Most recently we had soldiers assigned to Revere Public Schools as bus drivers to help augment the fleet when school came back to session after COVID. During COVID we had soldiers working around the clock providing supplies, medical aid and security at hospitals around the Commonwealth. This is exactly what the National Guard’s mission is to take care of the State in its time of need. I was very fortunate to be assigned to the area I grew up in. It gives me the opportunity to give back to the community that helped me grow into the soldier I am today.”
Jamie grew up in the Riverside neighborhood of Revere with his parents, Paul and Carolyn Chambers, along with his three brothers Jason, Jesse, and Jared. He attended the Paul Revere and Beachmont Schools before graduating from Revere High School in 1999. Chamber is now a married father of 4 and living in Charlestown with his wife Shannon, a paraprofessional at the Harvard Kent School, adopted son Tyler, 27, daughters Alannah, 11, and Tara, 9, and son, Callen 2.
Chambers became involved in the National Guard immediately after his senior year at RHS. “I wasn’t showing up on time and wound up failing English which I had first period every day. I needed something to right the ship and just after summer school my brother Jesse, who was attending art school, came home and said “I just joined the National Guard and they gave me a $5,000 bonus.” I was only 17 at the time and just imagined a recruiter handing out $5,000 was a great idea. I headed down to the office and said sign me up. On August 8, 1999, I was sworn into the MA Army National Guard and went to basic training a month later. I actually had my 18th birthday at basic training and was the youngest soldier in my platoon.”
Chambers was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008. “ I was tasked with providing training to Afghanistan’s military. We instructed them daily on basic soldiering and led them out on patrols and checkpoints to help secure the area. My younger brother Jared and I deployed together but assigned to different teams. My team pushed up to the Northern Part of Afghanistan. There we were met with a moderate amount of resistance and received contact on the base on a sporadic basis. In 2011, he was deployed again to Afghanistan for a similar mission. “This time we trained Afghanistan’s soldiers to take more of a lead in the process. I was married right before I went overseas and had to say good-bye to my newborn daughter, Alannah. Technology was a lot better this time around and I was able to talk back home via the internet. I returned home the day before Alannah’s first birthday and immediately took her to her first of many Bruins games.”
“If someone is looking to join the military I recommend they talk to the Guard even if it isn’t on their list. I had no idea what to do after high school. Joining the Guard gave me a paid gap year and the experience of a lifetime. I can’t even imagine what my life would be like without the MA National Guard. We are the only branch that offers 100% tuition and fees to any state college or university. There is also a full time opportunity. You are able to serve full time and receive all the benefits you would travel around the country.”
“The benefits you don’t use can be transferred to your spouse or children. The guard isn’t like the active military. It’s the largest family I have ever been a part of. You need help renovating your home? There’s every possible trade in your unit. You need to make some extra money? Your unit can put you on orders to pay you full time. There are people from every walk of life around you to help you overcome any obstacle. I could go on all day about the great people of the MA National Guard from the top down, starting with the highest ranking general to the newest enlisted private. It is a family first organization.”
To learn more about a career with the Massachusetts National Guard, you can contact Jamie on Instagram @sfc_chambers or by email at [email protected].